Tuesday, December 21, 2010

When dill is ok: Chickpea Rice Soup

"...Southern California was pounded by a sixth straight day of heavy rains -- with another storm on the way."
       -LA Times

I've been making lots of soup and cookies, drinking lots of tea, burning lots of incense, trying to maximize the novelty of coziness... but enough is enough.  It has not stopped raining for almost a week, and I'm ready for sun again.  Even in the bitter cold winters of Minnesota and Wisconsin there is a lot of deathly brilliant sun, because it's too cold to be cloudy.

On a brighter note, though (ha), I had forgotten how some music sounds so much better when it's dark and rainy outside.  Historical performances of Celtic music (not the cheesy kind) -- anything by Ralph Vaughan Williams -- CocoRosie -- Portishead -- Kate Bush -- Tori Amos's Boys for Pele.

Anyway, the other day I came across this recipe on the Post Punk Kitchen blog, and it seemed like serendipity: it called for all the things that were lurking in my fridge as rain and the fact of leaving town in a few days kept me from grocery shopping.  Even things I never buy: baby carrots, bequeathed to me by a friend who has gone home for the holidays, and fresh dill, which I had bought for borscht before I went all fusion on my beet soup.  Oh, and this recipe is stupidly easy: you only have to chop an onion and some dill!  Open a bag of carrots and a can of beans... yes!

I don't usually like dill, but it really went perfectly in this soup, humorously described by recipe author Isa: "There’s something seductively subtle about Eastern European flavors. No one is going to knock you over your head with cumin or turn the garlic up to 11."

This soup reminds me of soups we used to eat when I was growing up (they probably had chicken in them, though).  I think it's the inclusion of rice, and maybe actually of dill, that makes it seem familiar.  It's very comforting and balanced, perfect for yet. another. dark. rainy. day... 

I sortof halved the recipe, omitted the cabbage, and used already-cooked brown rice (I had that on hand, too--weird).  I didn't really measure the seasonings, but it turned out great, except that it was too salty.  Next time if I'm going to use all broth again (and not a mixture of broth and water), I will not add any salt during the sauteeing at the beginning.

Chickpea Rice Soup
(adapted from the PPK blog)

1-2 TB olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion,chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dry thyme
ground black pepper
a few cups of baby carrots
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (about 1 1/2 c?)
3 c veg broth
1/2 cup brown rice, cooked
3 tablespoons fresh chopped dill, plus extra for garnish

1. Heat olive oil in a largeish stock pot over medium heat.  Cook onions 5 minutes, then add garlic, thyme, and pepper, and cook another minute or two.
2. Add carrots, chickpeas, and broth; bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to very low, and simmer 30 minutes, or however long you feel like it.
3. Before serving, stir in rice and dill; maybe cook a few minutes more.  Adjust salt and pepper as necessary.  Serve garnished with a little more dill.  Serves about 3.

1 comment:

Janel said...

Yum looks so good! I cannot get enough of soup in the winter, and you can never go wrong with chickpeas!